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Spaying and Neutering Cats: The Benefits and Disadvantages of Neutering

by Vetic Editorial
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“Should I be neutering my cat? But he’s male, he’ll not give birth,” 

“Should I spay my female kitten, but she hasn’t mated or given birth even once?!” 

“Isn’t my cat too young to be spayed/neutered?”

These are some very justifiable concerns and doubts that cat parents go through during the early stages of cat-parenthood. 

So, is there a correct answer to all of these questions? Let’s find out what our veterinarians have to say about spaying and neutering cats. 

The biggest reason for confusion and doubt among all cat owners regarding sterilisation of their kittens is the age of neutering. While dogs are typically not neutered or spayed early in their puppy years, most cats can be spayed even when they have kitten-like features and behaviours. 

What is spaying and nutering cats?

Sterilisation is the gender-neutral term for spaying female cats & neutering male cats. Spaying of female cats is the complete surgical removal of ovaries, uterus and fallopian tubes under anaesthesia. Spaying in male cats is the complete surgical removal of testicles under anaesthesia.

Two orange tabby kittens lying side by side. One is licking the other. they are each around 3 months old. They will reach sexual maturity within another 30-45 days and 4 to 6 months may be the ideal time for neutering cats

Is your cat in heat (ready to mate)?

Most cats reach sexual maturity between the ages of 4 and 6 months. Whether you have a male or female cat, you will notice certain changes in their behaviour when they are in heat. 

Some common behavioural traits that signify sexual maturity in cats include –

  1. Increased restlessness
  2. Spraying on walls, furniture and even on humans to mark their scent
  3. Frequent and loud vocalisations 
  4. The tendency of venture outdoors 
  5. Excessive grooming (especially, belly and genital areas)
  6. A spontaneous low crawl from time to time
  7. Demanding extra affection 
  8. Seeking more attention and pets than usual
  9. Becoming agitated easily
  10. Getting into fights with other cats (often of the same gender) in a multicat household
  11. Trying to mount other cats (irrespective of their gender)
  12. Some cats will also roll over to expose their belly (IT’S A TRAP!!)

Short-medium coat ginger cat laying on his side receiving neck and chest scratches from a woman. Cats often show more affection when sexually mature and not neutered.

Some of these signs such as vocalisation, mounting and sprays are more common in male cats as compared to the more demure females. 

It’s often challenging to determine if female cats are in heat. So, it’s better to stay in touch with the vet during the first 6 months of your kitty’s life to understand their growth and development process. 

When should you neuter/spay your cat?

There is NO ONE PERFECT time for all cats. Although sterilisation is the most common elective surgery among pets, your veterinarian will consider multiple factors before recommending a suitable age for spaying or neutering your cat. 

Your cat needs to be completely vaccinated and dewormed before the procedure. 

They should also be 100% healthy for the operation. 

Hence, the veterinary surgeon will advise multiple blood and biochemistry tests once you decide that your fur baby is ready for the sterilisation surgery. 

Veterinarians advise against neutering cats when they are in heat. You may have to wait for 5 to 7 days until your cat is no longer showing signs of heat. 

You must take your cat to the veterinarian to become sure about their health status and eligibility for a sterilisation surgery.

What are the benefits of spaying and neutering cats?

As a cat parent it is only natural for you to be cautious and concerned. Hence, you should know all about the advantages of neutering and spaying cats. 

1. Reduced aggressiveness

A grey and black mackerel cat hissing at someone outside the photo. only a hand holding the cat gently is visible. not neutering cats can result in unwarranted aggressive behaviors

Male cats (even female cats) get into frequent fights when they are in heat. These fights are often over territories, food and potential mates. 

Neutered male cats have significantly reduced territorial behaviour which reduces their tendency to fight to zero. 

If you have more than one cat (irrespective of their gender), neutering and spaying will reduce the number of fights and resulting injuries. 

2. ZERO Spraying at Home

Intact mature cats often mark their territory inside the house by spraying urine. It is true for most male cats and some female cats. 

The urine of a mature cat in heat has a distinct smell that is impossible to ignore or drown out using room fresheners. 

At the same time, the habit of storing urine and spraying can lead to urinary tract infection in both male and female cats. 

Sterilisation at the right time can reduce the risks of UTIs in your cat. 

3. Prevention of Diseases

Sadly, a number of diseases in cats can be transmitted through bites, allo-grooming and sexual intercourse. These diseases include FIV (feline immunodeficiency virus, which is very similar to HIV) and FeLV (Feline Leukaemia Virus). 

Neutering and spaying cats can reduce the chances of acquiring these viruses through sexual contact and fights. 

At the same time, removing the reproductive organs from both male cats and female cats reduces the risk of tumours and cancers of the primary and secondary reproductive organs. 

Many veterinarians recommend early sterilisation of cats to reduce the risk of the development of any cancer or tumours within the first year of their lives. 

4. Decreases risks of escape and roaming

Patched print cat with white muzzle, chest and paws roaming freely outdoors. Neutering cats can prevent unwanted roaming.

Cats are curious creatures and even completely indoor cats often leave home in search of mates when they are in heat. And this behaviour is apparent in both males and females. 

Roaming can result in fights, road accidents, and missing cats. To prevent such mishaps and heartbreaks, you should sterilise your cat on time. 

Neutering and spaying will reduce the “need” for your cat to venture outside. 

Disadvantages of Sterilisation of Cats

One of the disadvantages of neutering or spaying cats is their possibility to gain weight rapidly. 

Most cats need proper diet regulation after spaying surgery. The recommended functional foods for sterilised cats are ideal for all neutered and spayed cats. 

If your cat is younger than 12 years, you should continue with the kitten food they are having. You can also speak to your veterinarian about the portion control of the regular food your cat or kitten eats right now. 

Conclusion

It is completely up to you whether or not you want to get your cat sterilised. However, remember that neutering and spaying cats has a positive effect on their behaviour, health and well-being. 

You should speak to a veterinarian near you to learn more about sterilisation of cats, in person. 

Visit Vetic to learn more about the pros, cons, cost and post-operative care of cat sterilisation.

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